When I moved to New York after living almost 15 years abroad I was both delighted and disappointed. The farm to table movement has allowed people to enjoy food in a more pure state. It has opened the door to using new cuts of meat previously discarded in the States or sold only in “ethnic”markets. It has reminded people that eggs have flavor, tomatoes have a season and roasting roots in the winter time can be amazing. It has allowed people to really go back to their origins eating sardines, tripe, grass fed bone marrow, and even confitted duck gizzards. These are items that you see all over the Mediterranean every day.
With all that openness, people experimenting with flavors, there are some generalized concepts that belittle and strips the elegance of some regional cuisines. For the general population Spanish cuisine has been boiled down to paella and sangria. I recently read an article about a Basque restaurant that had just opened. In the article they mentioned the amazing traditional Basque dishes that t they would be featuring and then they stated that they would of course have to have paella because the Americans expected it. I thought it was tragic. Instead of proudly teaching new Yorkers about the diversity of Basque cuisine they felt forced to serve a dish that had nothing to do with the Basque country.
There are many misconceptions of Spanish cuisine in America. It’s very different from Latino or Hispanic cuisine. It’s not spicy, and it prizes the quality and the regionality of the product over masking the base flavors. Experimenting or blending cuisines can produce amazing dishes. In the end all cuisines are fusion cuisines because they have been influenced as our world has grown accessible to new products, new techniques and blending of ideas. I only ask that if you go to a mediterrain restaurant don’t be willing to settle for paella, tiramisu or moussaka. These cuisines have so much more to offer and every plate has a story behind it.
If you want to taste Chef Cole’s cuisine, head to the Fat Goose in Williamsburg. 125 Wythe Ave at North 8 St.
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